Transnational Advocacy Networks (Tans) and Ngos in the Development of Climate Discourse

Jeanette Richard-Ruiz, Virginia Tech

Who participates in policy discussions about climate? States automatically get a seat at the table, but who are the non-state actors seeking a seat? Climate policies have the potential for wide-ranging scopes and profound impacts on organizations; therefore, climate policies are of intense interest to businesses, local governments, and advocacy groups. Each group is motivated to influence international policies and shape thinking on climate regulations, yet not all seek to do so. Businesses, environmental groups, and local governments are some of the most affected organizations by climate policies. Still, only one has a high participation rate at the UN climate conference. Why? This paper investigates the role of transnational advocacy networks (TANs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference and their access to non-selective benefits. Using a mixed-methods approach, the research draws on qualitative data from presentations and briefings from participating NGOs and quantitative data on the number of NGOs involved in the conference and their participation rates. The findings indicate that Environmental NGOs (ENGOs) have more members participating in the conference--by more than double other stakeholder groups such as businesses, local governments, or other advocacy groups This paper argues that ENGOs join at a higher rate in the climate conference because it offers opportunities to gain intangible benefits that serve an organizational need that is not available through other advocacy channels. Conversely, other participating groups can meet their needs for legitimacy and authority through different means or affiliations. ENGOs gain access to knowledge, intelligence, legitimacy, and authority through incentives available at the conference. This paper considers how the composition of NGOs participating in discursive framing affects the tone prescribed to global climate policies. It concludes with a discussion about the implications of uneven participation of ENGOs in the discursive framing of climate policy.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 231. Social Movements, Political Protest, and Advocacy